Buoyed by his fighting sixth place just before the summer break in Germany, in which he finished just 4.5secs from race winner Valentino Rossi, Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano is now targeting a podium finish from the second half of the 2005 MotoGP World Championship standings.

The 27-year-old Japanese has claimed eight top ten positions out of the first ten races of the season, with a fifth place at the Jerez opener his highest placing, and believes that recent Bridgestone progress - combined with confidence in his ZX-RR - will help his cause from this weekend at Brno onwards.

"Brno is more a classic style of track, long and fast, not a computer model and I like it very much - it's very challenging for a rider. With the right set-up a rider can make a difference at Brno, I learnt this from my 250cc days, and the latest ZX-RR specification gives me a lot of confidence," he declared. "Also Bridgestone made a strong step forward at the German GP especially with race distance tyre life.

"After the holidays it is like a new start and my aim is some more top five results, even the podium. Why not? I started the season with fifth at Jerez and I know the potential of the ZX-RR and the Bridgestone tyres are improving so that is my goal," confirmed Nakano, who took his first podium finish for Kawasaki at Motegi last season.

Meanwhile, team manager Harald Eckl is aiming to keep Kawasaki on the manufacturers' championship podium; team green are currently an excellent third, behind Yamaha and Honda, and 11-points clear of Ducati.

"Brno is the start of a very busy period for the Kawasaki Racing Team and we are ready for the challenge of maintaining our third place in the Constructors' Championship," said the German.

"After the race the team will test for two days with the latest development parts from Japan and with our tyre partners Bridgestone. So that's a heavy, five day work load for our riders and technicians.

"While Shinya continues to show he is one of the fastest riders in the championship I'm hoping that the bad luck for Alex (Hofmann) is now over, and he can show what he is capable of."

 

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